Letters: City’s work on housing proposal is inadequate

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Edinburgh City Council’s complacent responses in the Evening News to residents’ legitimate concerns about gridlock at the Barnton junction and lack of consultation with communities (Residents fear gridlock if housing gets go-ahead, News, June 15, and Homes plan puts us up the junction, News, June 19) are indicative of its failure to balance responding to planning directives with listening to communities.

Our concerns are prompted by Local Development Plan proposals for 700 houses at the Barnton end of the Maybury Road. Your articles quote a council spokeswoman stating that the council believes its transport actions are adequate and that there has been extensive consultation. We dispute both of these.

The council has not offered any detailed transport modelling nor any independent technical advice in relation to road and junction capacity nor road safety audits. The transport appraisal was carried out some three years ago. The proposals also contravene current government policy in several areas, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing accessibility by foot, cycle and public transport. We have no confidence in the council’s analysis.

On the assertion that there has been extensive consultation I would point out that the Cammo fields site’s designation was changed from “alternative” to “proposed” after the 2010 plan came out, reducing the opportunity for interested communities to submit their views.

The city council needs to provide more detail, back up their proposals, stop serving developers’ profit margins and fully engage with the local people they are elected or employed to represent.

Gary Bennett, chair, Cammo Residents Association

Voters need a say on EU membership

Once again I find myself in total disagreement with Martin Hannan in his column (Scotland has no place for Farage, News, June 25). “We have seen clean through Farage’s bluster” he proclaims. Really?

The truth is we don’t know enough about UKIP yet in Scotland as they are denied the right to free speech whenever possible, making it more difficult for voters to form an opinion.

As far as I can make out, UKIP would give us a vote on EU membership as opposed to the SNP arrogantly dictating we will be members whether we want it or not.

UKIP also appear to be for controlled immigration (not anti-immigration as Hannan would have us believe) which all seems sensible to me but, like many people, I would want to know more before considering becoming a UKIP voter whilst risking being branded a racist for daring to question the SNP’s ongoing “open door” immigration policy.

Perhaps if Mr Hannan and the SNP leaders would come into the real world for a moment and maybe try applying for a job, almost any job you could mention, and see the long queues of 50 or 60 (sometimes hundreds of) applicants for every position they would forced to admit they’re wrong, but I won’t hold my breath waiting on that.

Immigration is a good thing for Scotland but it has to be controlled. EU membership is an issue we should have a say on. Can Mr Hannan explain why the SNP disagrees with both these points?

D Smith, Tranent

When Edinburgh had its own Burma Road

THE First World War trenches are not alone in being worthy of remembrance (News, June 25). On July 3, 1945 I was conscripted into No 3 Preliminary Training Wing in Dreghorn with the war still on in Japan.

An area to the west of the pillar memorial and the main gates was known as the Burma Road, a densely wooded ravine holding the Braid Burn in which soldiers were trained to fight jungle warfare – hence the name.

The unexpected surrender on August 14 by Japan was a great relief to the young soldiers. I doubt if any traces of the Burma Road remain, but mention of its existence would be apt.

Because I had been in the Army for more than a month I was awarded two medals though I never left my home town, but I did end up in West Africa.

D R Watt, Bellevue Place, Edinburgh

We should say never again to the Tories

The words “austerity government” were used, historically speaking, to refer to the post-war period 1946 to 51.

It is to the eternal shame of the Tories that they lobbied and bullied the country into the deregulation of the banks and finance houses, exacerbating the global financial crisis and plunging us into yet another austerity period, which they are manipulating to promote their profoundly Darwinian philosophies. Thank heavens we are witnessing the last period of Conservative Party power for at least a generation: as part of a United Kingdom, or in an independent Scotland, “Tories? Never again” should be our watch words!

David Fiddimore, Nether Craigwell, Calton Road, Edinburgh

What’s the word on language lessons?

The Chancellor has announced Social Security claimants will in future be required to attend English classes if they are not fluent in the language.

It will be interesting to see just how seriously the heads of our devolved governments take the existing statutory protection of the UK’s other native languages (Gaelic in Scotland, Welsh in Wales and Irish and Ulster Scots in Northern Ireland) by demanding that classes in these languages be offered as an alternative.

If not, will monoglot speakers of these tongues also be forced to learn English or is this new legislation aimed solely at Johnny Foreigner and native-born Geordies?

John Eoin Douglas, Spey Terrace, Edinburgh